As one of only three public relations professionals on the panel of judges for the 2012 Loerie Awards, and being fortunate enough to be experiencing it for the second time, I was this past week welcomed into the world of creative directors, ad moguls and funky client service directors.
The PR industry awards don’t and can’t be compared. Ad people dress differently, play differently and diss one-another differently. Coloured sneakers and jeans are perfectly acceptable to wear to the Loerie Awards, whereas it could well be a career limiting move in PR. Clapping and chearing so that the presenter can’t be heard is perfectly okay and as one tweet said on the night, the room is filled with all those naughty kids who sat at the back of the hall at school. What a hoot! There is indeed so much personality in the Ad industry.
So many dominant and strong personalities and so much opinion! In fact the healthy debate during our judging about what is PR vs. what is an activation vs. is this advertising (with some great resulting PR as a spin-off) was both entertaining and enlightening.
The PR industry needs to get closer to the creative industry as a whole because there is still a lack of appreciation for the art of managed communications and real public relations. Earned coverage and conversation seeding is something the ad guys are now building into their own campaigns so “where does PR fit” is question on people’s lips.
Having said that, PR is most certainly seen as more important than ever before and the need for an integrated communication campaign that spans all the relevant media to each brand is more important than ever. There is no longer a standalone outdoor billboard campaign. There is now a need for an accompanying social media campaign where people are incentivized to get involved, tweet and post comments.
There needs to be a managed publicity campaign to build awareness around this piece of creative genius and of course there should also be a mobile element – because our phones are now our “primary screen” and no longer third in line in a consumer-oriented life. Even in the PRISM awards of the past two years, I have seen the recalibration of award winning campaigns that span all the communications channels.
The theme of “down with mediocrity” struck a chord with me. ‘Award winning’ often means outstanding. It would seem to me that advertising and creative people want to be outstanding as individuals, outstanding as teams and outstanding in their lives. It is a lifestyle not an ambition, which is why the industry as a whole stands out.
Pushing the envelope, bending the rules, and breaking the norm are where it all starts for this wonderful group of people and where innovation, ideas and creativity are born. It is inspiring, moving, titivating and a tad intimidating for me, but I am elevated by the unity and self belief of this industry. I too feel like I can do anything – I think some creative magic dust may have rubbed off on me during the Loerie Awards, and for that, I am grateful and hope to return for more in 2013..
Ingrid Lotze is JHB MD of marcusbrewster.